If I’m reading this story properly, what we’ve got going on here is a mixed group of absurdist naked religious anarchists being whipped with willow switches on a cold winter day in 1903 Saskatchewan, by villagers of nominally-similar but less-extreme beliefs:
The Freedomites decided to demonstrate their beliefs to the other Doukhobors and stripped naked, as free from possessions as Adam and Eve, and marched through the villages. They ate leaves and grass like their animal brothers and begged others to follow them.
There were fifty-two of the marchers when they ran into Peter Verigin who was driving his carriage. The Freedomites demanded that Verigin free his horse. Peter the Lordly refused. The Freedomites, of course, thought he meant the opposite so they unharnessed the animal and set it loose. They marched on down the road while Verigin sent word to the next village to stop them. There the naked marchers were whipped with willow switches until their legs bled. Women and children were removed from the march but the men continued on.